As any college or university student can attest to, starting secondary education can be a pretty daunting experience. You feel prepared and confident in regards to your next step in your education, but you find out rather quickly that there are some things you would have liked to have known prior to beginning university. Here is a list of 10 things I wish I knew before starting university:
(1) Dorm rooms are as boring and small, and no matter how much you attempt to decorate, the cement walls are just not ideal for making your room homey.
(2) You will not make friends your first day. Sure, some people will become acquaintances with people they will sustain friendships with for the rest of their lives the first day they arrive at university, but I don’t believe that is the norm. Don’t rush into making friends out of fear that you won’t meet new people. I promise you, there is a lot of new people to meet at university, and you will make friends with someone when you likely least expect it.
(3) You will feel pressured to drink. In first year of university, the norm is to get drunk on a weekly basis, and you will feel as though you have to drink in order to fit in. Don’t succumb to the pressure. Stay true to yourself and only drink if you are comfortable doing so. Sooner rather than later, the alcohol craze wears off, and you will be content with your decision to say no once or twice.
(4) The work is hard. Having been a straight-A student throughout high school, it was a huge shock for me when I was consistently receiving 65-70% on my work. It is not anything you are doing wrong, but marking in university is totally different than what it is in high school. Try not to feel discouraged. Just do your best and know that your marks are average, and a majority of your classmates are likely receiving similar marks.
(5) You will miss home. It is hard being away from home when you’re in university, and it makes the time you do get to spend with your family when you return home much for meaningful and enjoyable.
(6) You will feel like giving up. The work load in university is entirely incomparable to the work load you encounter in high school. At times, your stress levels will be through the roof, but just be smart, organized, and use your time well, and you will be able to complete your work in time for deadlines.
(7) You cannot ‘wing’ your exams. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this, except that I learned the hard way. Guessing your way through an exam just does not work.
(8) You have to eat well. It will be very tempting to have access to pizza and burgers at all hours of the day and night, but eating junk consistently will make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Try to eat as healthy as possible and treat yourself on occasion.
(9) You will meet a lot of people who want nothing more than sex. First year of university is the time in a students’ life where they let loose and try out new things, which often means experimenting sexually. If you’re wanting to explore as well, be smart and use precaution. You always have the right to say no to someone.
(10) It will go by faster than you will ever imagine. It sounds like such a cliche, I know, but university goes by so, so quickly. Enjoy the time you are there and make the most of it.
I hope these tips can help anyone who is preparing to head off to university in the near future. They definitely would have helped me.